A while back I posted about the progress of White-winged Choughs (Corcorax melanorhamphos) building nests around our place at Strangways. We’ve now counted seven nests with adults incubating eggs within a 400m radius of our house. Yesterday we saw the first family with fledglings shepherding three chicks around the ground, secreting them amongst the fallen timber. Today, as evening drew near the frantic adults were busy feeding and corralling their young charges amongst the shrubs, leaf litter and dead wood.
All three of this little sweeties are able to fly – sort of. A bit of vigorous flapping and they can get a metre or two off the ground. We watched as some adults on the ground guided them to a fork in a Grey Box tree and other adults in a low branch of the tree seemed to encourage them upwards to a safe spot to roost for the night.
Eventually, all three gave up the climb and flew in ungainly style towards some logs on the ground, whereupon some adults began again the seemingly chaotic task of finding a safe place for the little crew to spend the night.
We noted that pretty much as soon as these chicks were out of the nest, some Choughs had started construction of a new nest very close to the old one. We think but can’t be sure that this is the same group of about 12 birds building the second nest. What strikes me from these observations is how important dead wood on the ground is for sheltering these very young birds.